Freeport voting on changing the way it's governed

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Updated: November 9, 2016

FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) -- A fourth time is the charm as a vote to appoint a city manager for the City of Freeport is approved with 53% of voters saying "yes" to the change of the city's government.

The Freeport Manager will be responsible for all professional appointments like police and fire chiefs and will supervise and operate the city's government. The position of Mayor will still be around. Current Mayor Jim Gitz has yet to announce if he plans to run again.


FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR)-- "If you keep doing what you've always done and expect different results, that's kind of crazy."
Local businesswoman Leitzen Fye thinks it's time for a change.
"You know it's time for us to start looking for different ways to grow this city again," said Leitzen Fye.
"I don't think that our problems are going to be solved by changing structure,” said Freeport Mayor James Gitz. “I think our problems are going to be solved by an intelligent plan accompanied by resources."

The ballot question involves changing the roll of the mayor. It would establish a City Manager. Gitz believes the issues Freeport faces can't be fixed by one individual. Leitzen Fye disagrees, she thinks that's exactly why Freeport needs a city manager.

"City Managers are charged with managing the day-to-day operations of the city, which then allows the Mayor and the council to do the really important work of community visioning, strategic planning, working together to enhance the quality of life," said Leitzen Fye.

"My commitment to being Mayor of Freeport is in helping to make this community move forward."

"We've been impacted by the recession over the last several years,” said Litzen Fey. “I think it's just time to get beyond that, and a good way to get beyond that is have a professional manager come in and help us with best practice and knowledge."

Voters have turned this referendum down three times in the past, 2008, 2010, 2012.

Leitzen Fye points out if the voters vote yes, it doesn't eliminate the mayor. It just adds someone else to handle day-to-day operations. She is confident this time the issue will be approved. While opposed to this idea, Mayor Gitz tells us he will accept the voter's decision and do his duty.

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